Ex-England forward Marieanne Spacey, one of the most successful English female f
Ex-England forward Marieanne Spacey, one of the most successful English female footballers, has completed a surprise move from Arsenal to Fulham.
Spacey, who won 91 England caps before retiring from international football in June 2001, helped The Gunners clinch a second successive AXA FA Premier League National Division title in April. The 36-year-old striker has been with Arsenal since 1994, more recently combining her playing role with that a Football Development Officer with Hertfordshire County FA.
However, she has now switched from north to west London to join arch-rivals Fulham Ladies - England's only professional women's football team - on a free transfer.
Spacey said: "Obviously it was a very difficult decision to leave Arsenal after such a long time. Earlier on last season I had considered retiring but I had never expected this kind of opportunity to arise." "The chance to play professional football has rejuvenated my enthusiasm and I feel I have a lot to offer Fulham Ladies."
Despite playing possibly her last season of domestic football in 2001-02, Spacey showed that she still had plenty to offer by claiming three honours at the FA Women's Football Awards last month - the Umbro Top Scorer for the National Division, the AXA Players' Player Of The Year and the Sport relief Special Achievement Award.
But Spacey claimed that it was her daughter Sophie who was the biggest treasure of her life. Fulham claimed the FA and Premier League Cups last season and will face Spacey's old Arsenal side in the National Division for the first time next season, having risen spectacularly through the leagues since formation only nine years ago.
The two sides will in fact kick-off the new season when they do battle for the FA Nationwide Community Shield in August. Spacey is Fulham's second signing of the close season, following the acquisition last month of Southampton Saints striker Una Nwajei.
Fulham had been keen to bolster their forward line following both the departure of last season's leading scorer, the Norwegian Olympic gold medallist Marianne Pettersen, and the club's promotion to the top flight.
Fulham Manager Gaute Haugenes added: "I am very pleased to welcome Marieanne to Fulham ladies. Her footballing credentials are excellent and I'm sure that she will be a great addition to the squad."
"Last season we achieved great success on the pitch and our ambitions for this season are equally high. Joining the top flight of ladies football for the first time will bring many challenges. I believe that Marieanne's experience and commitment to the game will benefit the team. Our aim is to continue to realise the ambitions of our chairman."
*The fixtures for the 2002-03 FA Nationwide Women's Premier League will be available on TheFA.com/Women from Monday 1st July.